Sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) are popular again. Once a refuge for senior bankers looking for a stable option in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, big Gulf-based government investment firms have once again been attracting some big names.
The $335bn SWF Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) - known for extending its talent search to London, New York and Hong Kong - has just hired a senior analyst from Credit Suisse on Wall Street.
Kulbinder Garcha, a managing director and head of global telecom equipment research at Credit Suisse has re-emerged at the QIA following his exit from the bank in August. Garcha, who has spent the past 15 years at the Swiss bank, is now a portfolio manager and sector head leading the QIA's investment in telecommunications, media and technology (TMT) firms.
Garcha is a highly-rated analyst who covered some of the biggest tech stocks at Credit Suisse including Apple, IBM, Dell and Blackberry. A Cambridge economics graduate, Garcha joined Credit Suisse in 2002 from Goldman Sachs, where he was a tech analyst in London. He initially worked as a European telecoms analyst, before moving up to his latest role in 2007.
Garcha is the second senior analyst covering large technology stocks to move on to a venture in recent months. Simona Jankowski, a managing director and senior equity research analyst for the hardware and communications technology sector at Goldman Sachs, became vice president of investor relations at tech hardware firm NVIDIA in August. She had worked at the bank her entire career, having joined in 2001 after graduating from Stanford University.
It's no secret that squeezed sell-side equity research analysts are quitting the sector for new ventures - everything from buy-side switches to investor relations roles - largely thanks to the slow encroach of MiFID II regulations, which will require banks to charge for research separately from other trading charges. However, there are also signs that senior analysts could be in demand - Morgan Stanley is reportedly likely to charge clients $2.5k an hour for private meetings with its stock analysts, and other banks are likely to tout their top equity researchers' time after the regulation comes into force.
QIA isn't the only SWF hiring. The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority has just brought in Rob McGrath, the former head of trading at Schroders, as its global head of trading across all asset classes; this follows a hiring spree earlier this year when it poached from London-based investment banks.
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